High quality educational systems and the aims of the European Institution's strategies: challenges in view of the economic and employment situation in the near future

A seminar on "High quality educational systems and the aims of the European Institution's strategies: challenges in view of the economic and employment situation in the near future" was held in Barcelona from December 12th to 14th 2017, organized by USO - CCFAS (Unión Sindical Obrera - Centro Confederal de Formación y Acción Social), with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

The seminar was opened by Miquel A. Essomba, Commissioner for Education, Children and Youth of the Barcelona City Council, Ester Niubó, PSC member of parliament, Piergiorgio Sciacqua, co-president of EZA, María Recuero, general secretary of USOC and Joaquín Pérez da Silva, general secretary of USOC. Both Miquel Essomba and Esther Niubó were very receptive regarding the proposal for educational quality systems and objectives training and volunteered to that from USO and EZA we give them our proposals in education, in order to give a more plural vision in their respective fields and we reached out to the participation both in the Barcelona City Council and in the Parlament de Catalunya. Both the Secretary General of the USOC and the Secretary General of USO highlighted that USO has been the only union that has increased in representation and affiliation in education and that humanistic character that characterizes our union, as well as our plurality and being free and autonomous of political parties and employers, are the keys of that growth.

The inaugural lecture was given by Antonio Amate, secretary general of the USO Teaching Federation, who explained what the lines of action of the State Educational Pact should be and that it should be able to give satisfaction to the plurality of society, which should take into account the proposals of political parties, Autonomous Communities (those that have competence in education), the Ministry of Education (which is the legislature), trade unions, social organizations, employers, associations of fathers and mothers and student associations. He highlighted the number of current schools and the ratio per classroom, which must be reconsidered, which was deepened by the low birth rate, are some of the key points on which to lay the foundations for the drafting of the Educational Pact in Spain.

Santiago García, general secretary of the Spanish Confederation of Educational Centers, CECE, highlighted the role of dual FP, the number of certificates of professionalism that have been issued since 2010 and the importance of them for learning, being necessary since the law that governs dual FP is the same throughout the State, since it is not acceptable for each CCAA to have one of their own and not be compatible. He stressed that the mentality of the companies should change, since they are responsible for increasing the average qualification and that a change of mentality is necessary in terms of recognition of the prestige of the FP.

Luís Font, president of the School Council of Catalonia, when talking about the Education Pact, stated that a problem too complex, such as education, cannot have a simple answer, the reality is too complex to say "yes" or "no";also, he pointed out that the educational world and the productive world often go backwards, when it would be necessary that this was not the case in order to face youth unemployment and the worthwhile future of society. He added that the educational success happens because the students develop their talents to the maximum, they have creativity to reinforce ethical qualities, that is to say, that they are faithful to themselves.

María Reina from Portugal, Helmut Skala and Roland Gangl from Austria and Josep María Boneu from Spain participated in the round table discussion on the need to adapt education to changes in the knowledge society. María Reina spoke about the VT in Portugal and how private FP schools have covered a role that is not covered by public funds from the State. The private vocational schools of Portugal are based, primarily, in rural areas or far from the big cities and serve to train young people in those areas in order allow them to stay in the region once they finish their vocational training and therefore avoid depopulation. Youth avoid areas such as Asturias in Spain, where due to the lack of opportunities for youth, is one of the areas with fewer young people in Europe.

OIn the other hand, Helmut Skala and Roland Gangl did an analysis of the education system in Austria, where school dropout is almost residual and where VET is implemented and recognized. Almost half of Austrian young people enroll in VET and companies hire people because of their knowledge, regardless of whether they have studied VET or university studies and that recognition should be transferred to the rest of the EU countries, since, according to the 2020 objectives, must allbe on equal terms. In addition, programs such as Erasmus Pro, which will facilitate the mobility of young people studying FP, will grant the recognition and prestige that it has.

Josep María Boneu of the USOC Federation of Education addressed how to adapt the educational reality of each country to the knowledge society and how a perfect combination between the use of ICT and more traditional methods are the key to this adaptation. The roles in the classroom have changed in recent decades, as well as the educational needs and today, teachers teach students and many times, students teach teachers how to develop some methods. Today, education is not conceived without ICT, but for this, it is necessary that ICT be integrated into the school curriculum and teachers receive the necessary training for the development of ICT in the classroom.

On the afternoon of the 13th, there was a round table on the education systems in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Spain. In the case of Spain, the rapporteur, Pere Forga stressed that Spain is the only European country that, in just 40 years, has had almost 10 educational laws, which is for the whole Spanish education system. Out of those laws, one of them was valid for 20 years, so in another 20 years, 8 have been educational reforms, with their positives and negatives and have shown that in Spain, unfortunately, the law is a weapon policy that is not taken seriously by those who legislate and it is a barbarity that each CCAA has a different way of applying educational laws, which implies inequalities between students from different provinces, differences that are reflected when they converge in some moment of their student life, students from different Autonomous Communities in the same center.

The last lecture was held by Imma Badia, secretary of union action and occupational health of the Federation of Teaching of USO, and Carmen Alejandra Ortiz, secretary of training and economy of the Federation of Teaching of USO Madrid, who spoke of the legislation in matter of occupational health applicable in educational centers, as well as of the main psychosocial risks and disorders suffered by professors in the classroom. A special part was dedicated to stress, causes, consequences, treatment and how stress conditions not only work life, but also the teaching staff. The Federation of Education has developed a training model of intervention to the psychosocial risks in the educational field. It is a set of training strategies for coping with stress for teachers. The objective of the project is to sensitize the teaching staff to the importance of psychosocial risks for their quality of life and to contribute to the improvement of the professional activity of the teaching staff through the development of competencies of facing stress.

Josep Calvó, vice president of EZA, was in charge of the closing ceremony, and used the opportunity to highlight the quality of the presentations of the seminar, as well as the exchange on the experiences made in the different European states through the participation of the assistants and of that enriching character of these European seminars. Dulce M. Moreno, secretary of union training and equality of the USO, in his speech during the closing, claimed salaries equalization of professors needs to be on par with those of the public. She also stressed that the complementarity and plurality of different educational models give that characteristic wealth to the educational system, that all are complementary and that one should not be exclusive of another, since, in the union case, what we defend, are the jobs of those teachers and that we will continue to fight against the injustices suffered by teachers, regardless of the ownership of the center.


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